Office coffee service revenues have risen steadily the last few years, but the percentage of actual “coffee” sold has been relatively flat, according to the annual State of the Coffee Service Industry Report from Automatic Merchandiser magazine. What is driving the OCS revenues is selling the new add-on services and products – from water service to breakroom food.
OCS providers who are able to utilize these new lines will have the best success increasing the amount an OCS customer purchases.
Upselling and cross selling
One of the best ways to increase the OCS ticket is to sell a greater quantity or a different product. If a location has a single cup coffee brewer, for example, it might be an opportunity to cross sell new coffee varieties such as seasonal flavors or sustainable options.
Cross selling might also be accomplished by offering water filtration services. This not only enhances the taste and quality of coffee and teas, but can be considered part of a health and wellness initiative as fresh tasting water creates a great beverage option for employees.
Often cross selling can happen by offering additional items to the location as well. Pantry service, where OCS providers delivery food, office supplies, cold brew coffee kegs, pastries, etc. to businesses and then invoice the location for the items has been a huge growth opportunity for OCS operators. This works best in regions where companies are trying to retain top employees, but can also work in other areas where companies will appreciate the one-stop-shop. See what a location might want delivered – breakroom paper supplies are common, but what about office paper, pens, plastic cutlery, USB or thumbs drives, sodas and food?
And don’t forget about offering premium varieties. The new coffee drinker appreciates the roast, blend and many other facets of coffee. Offering a well-loved premium brand coffee could help a company or restaurant stand out. Upselling can also happen with equipment, such as a bean-to-cup single cup coffee brewer, which allows for a better margin on the coffee for the OCS provider over many pre-packaged single cup options.
Upselling and cross selling are terrific tools, but won’t work without communicating them to the customer. Digital communication is the most common way of informing customers of news products and services, whether that is via a website, social media or emails. The most important aspect of digital communication is consistency. The OCS provider needs to keep a regular schedule of digital marketing and updated websites to really stay top of mind for busy clients and prospective clients looking for service.
While digital is a great way to communicate with many people at once, don’t forget the importance of in-person marketing. Keep a customer service team and increase training for the delivery person. Ensure a driver is aware of what’s new, seasonal or what might be of interest to a location based on what’s happening in the local economy or consumer trends. Additionally, share ways the driver can communicate with the location not just about more product, but about their needs and concerns. The delivery person is the frontline eyes and ears for the operator. Make sure the driver is listening, so if an opportunity to provide more services comes up, the driver can bring back that information and keep the account. The worst case scenario is when an OCS provider loses an account because that location didn’t know he or she offered a service or product that the location wanted.
Impress with technology
OCS delivery software, online ordering, mobile apps, etc. are all ways OCS providers are trying to stay front of mind and relevant to the consumer, especially as more Millennials are in positions to be account decisions makers. Automatic Merchandiser published an article about how technology appeals to Millennials and attracts them to working in the vending industry. The attractiveness of utilizing technology applies to service providers trying to impress Millennials at business locations as much as it does to operators looking to hire them.
Technology in the vending business begins with a professional website that not only includes the relevant information, but that also has good search engine optimization and some sort of ordering capability. For advanced websites, the shopping portion can also allow for cross selling or up selling, by suggesting products based on the customer’s searching and purchasing history. Even if having a website with enhanced purchasing isn’t an option, still tailor and personalize digital communications. When sending out email blasts or newsletters, keep lists of similar customers and change the email to highlight what that type of customer might find most appealing, or what’s in season rather than sending a long and general email to all your customers.
Other types of technology that impress are OCS inventory management systems, warehouse systems, online reporting that the customer can check, being able to accept cashless payment, ordering via apps and anything new and cutting edge. There’s a lot of possibilities out there and customers appreciate service providers who invest in themselves. It shows that the operation’s management understands the business world is not the same as it was 10 years ago, and is willing to evolve so it will remain in business for the long-term.
With dozens of new OCS products and services available and coveted by locations, it is more important than ever to keep a dialogue open with customers. Customers want this dialogue to be more digital, but it still needs to be customized and used to listen, as well as sell. Keep regular contact with customers, share your technology investments and constantly offer more to your customers. These strategies will allow you to increase the “ticket” and will benefit your bottom line.